Computed tomography, commonly known as a CT or CAT scan, is a diagnostic medical test that produces cross-sectional or three-dimensional images of the inside of the body.
The CT scanner is a large machine with a short tunnel and a narrow examination table that slides into and out of the tunnel. The x-ray tube and electronic X-ray detectors are located opposite each other in a ring that rotates around the tube during the scan. Patients may be asked to hold their breath and lay completely still as any motion can lead to a loss of image quality.
CT scans are used to detect spinal problems and trauma related injuries, as well as cancers of the lung, liver, kidney, ovary and pancreas, or acute symptoms such as chest or abdominal pain or difficulty breathing.